Officials at Transneft told Reuters on Friday its computers had been used for the unauthorized mining of the cryptocurrency monero. Monero is the eleventh-largest virtual currency with a market cap of over $5 billion.
“Incidents where the company’s hardware was used to manufacture cryptocurrency have been found. It could have a negative impact on the productivity of our processing capacity,” according to Transneft Vice President Vladimir Rushailo.
Rushailo did not elaborate on whether this hacking attack was the first of its kind.
Software for mining cryptocurrency was automatically downloaded from the web by a Transneft computer and then deleted, company spokesman Igor Demin told the media. He added Transneft had programs to prevent this from happening again.
According to industry experts, hackers are increasingly using corporate computers to mine cryptocurrencies.
“More and more people have learnt that, in fact, they do not even need to stand up from the sofa to make money – if they are not caught”, the head of information security projects with Croc IT firm Pavel Lutsik told Reuters.
Anyone attempting to hack corporate servers faces between six and ten years in prison under Russian law, according to Lutsik.
Russia is currently working on regulating virtual currencies. President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to create legislation governing the status of bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies, mining and initial coin offerings, as well as defining everything that relates to digital money, by July 2018.
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